LA Independent Diaries

The First Diary

On my second opening night, Al Pacino is sitting in my back row…

Ticket To Ride

Agenda. Seems like everyone’s got one. When a woman approached me in a store about coming to a Hare Krishna center with her, I returned the invite with a postcard to my show. It only seemed right. It was an exchange. If we had no agendas we’d have no motivations and in turn no purpose to our lives.

I have a new headshot. Having a new headshot always makes me feel like I have a new lease on life. As though no other picture in the past really could capture or sell me the way this one will. It’s pure disillusionment. But it makes me feel better.

On my return flight home from Boston last week, I took advantage of the fresh clarity I possessed from being out of Hollywood for a mere four days. I thought long and hard. How much longer can I live in this fantasy world? Days become years. Opportunities to live a broader life that encompasses more then “making it in Hollywood” pass by. It seems that every time I return to LA I purchase a ticket much like one would to Disneyland. Time stops. Everyone else is at the park too. And we get so caught-up with the thrill of the rides, the rise and decent of the roller coasters, the fantasy and charades of the costumes and the darkness of the Haunted House. So like Hollywood. I want to choose another destination. I want a ticket to a destination that’s not the “Happiest place on earth” but maybe the “realest place on earth”. I want to see what’s in the haunted house with me. I want to see who’s in the costumes beside me. I want clarity.

But I’ve bought the ticket. And I’m going to have to finish this particular ride because I’ve paid my admission and until I can find a safe place to get off, I’ll have to just wait.

P.S. New Year’s Eve at Henry Jaglom’s party was exciting. Eclectic people and artists surrounded me. I felt at home. Peter Bogdonavitch was there. He didn’t remember me from “Festival In Cannes”. Oh well. I remembered him. That’s all that matters. You can’t depend on other people to make your life meaningful. It’s your story. Write it well.


Silence Isn’t Always Golden

It’s never a good sign when the phone doesn’t ring. I was on “hold” to be the face of a new potato chip campaign. I was set to work Monday. Friday afternoon…no call. No email. I had to silently surrender. I wouldn’t be crunching and chewing my way to a financial fortune. In fact I couldn’t make any noise. My agent didn’t want to hear me whine. I couldn’t write a letter, get on TV or speak to the President of the chip company. I had to sit with it. Lesson #1 in Hollywood: They only call when they say yes. If it’s a no, you get the silent treatment. And you’re left on your on to cope (unless you have a good shrink). You’d think it would get easier after so many years. But it doesn’t. The casting process is cruel. Period.

I’ve decided to try and be a contender for an Ovation Award.

I may even join Equity. I’m getting serious. We’ve set a preliminary date in April to mount the second two acts of my show. It helps to have a goal. There’s no structure when you’re an Actress. It’s all about self-discipline. No boss looking over your shoulder, no time clock, no performance reports. It’s all YOU. It’s a self-made career. You must be rigorous.

I really want some change in my life. I see my show as an opportunity to travel the world and entertain. I envision myself meeting people from all walks of life. Making them laugh, sharing my story, and connecting. Becoming an Ambassador for all struggling Actresses in Hollywood. An Ambassador of HOPE.

That said, it’s time to run-off to my retail day job. I meet a lot of people there. I even met someone from HBO who is coming to my show next week. How cool is that? You never know whom you’re selling underwear to…so put on the smile and be at your best. We’re living in the land of possibilities!


Asking for fervent years

I’m reading “Ask and it is Given”. I’m learning that if I align my thoughts with my desires, a powerful energy will attract them to me. But beware, the same works with negative thoughts. So I have to retrain my mind to only be optimistic, positive and clear. This is tough work. I’ll need a lobotomy.

I’m putting-up all three acts of my one-woman show this week. I’m frightened and excited at the same time. In rehearsal, my mind is playing mental ping-pong with the new material. Sometimes I lose the ball altogether and just sit there wondering what the heck my next thought/line is. I’ve been told that these moments “seem” incredibly deep from the outside. Go figure!

These vacant moments are an Actor’s nightmare.

I have almost 40 pages of single-spaced words in my show. Some sequiturs are as puzzling as a Rubik’s cube to me. But eventually, I always find the connection. Like in life, we need to understand how to navigate our reactions to situations and decide how best to respond. Our script of who we are as people is written in our hearts. Do we stay true to it? Or do we have to read two pilots, 10 features and a 500-page biography just to remember? Sequiturs require faith. When the going gets tough we must remember who we are.

Martin Landau came to our show. He had wonderful tales of Hollywood and encouraged me to audition for the Actor’s studio (for the third time). The first time, I was told my acting style resembled Carol Burnett (not what you want to hear from a “method” establishment). Apparently it took Dustin Hoffman many tries and look at him! We’ll see.

I feel an epiphany coming on from that book “Ask and it is Given”…something good is coming my way. I’ve sacrificed too much. As Harold Clurman coined them, these are my “fervent years”.

From Surviving near Disaster to becoming a barfly

Life is especially good since I survived being mowed down by a motorist a few days ago! I was walking home from my morning expedition to the gym. The stoplight said green. I walked. A woman in a blue compact took her right on red and drove straight towards me. The strange thing was that she was looking right at me. Anyhow, I always wondered what I would do in a situation like that…like when you have those “falling” dreams and always wake-up in time. This time, I froze! She stopped inches away from my recently sculptured body. I looked at her in amazement and she looked back at me through her cracked window and said in her best valley voice : “I’m sorry”! Her tone betraying any real remorse. In fact, she sounded annoyed. Anyhow, not to be morbid but it was my first near death experience and let’s just say that I’m now a bit trepidatious crossing the street.
I went to see the new movie “Hollywoodland.” It’s great. Diane Lane. Now that’s one classy actress I’d like to emulate. She’s simultaneously strong and vulnerable . And her sexuality is so mature. Like the way I imagined Anna Karenina and all those other ethereal ladies of fiction, with whom I spent my lazy hours reading and living vicariously through.  I felt for Ben Afflect’s character “George”. Like his Superman, I feel I’ve been a bit pigeon-holed in this town. “Funny quirky character girl”. I can do so much more. I’m a dynamo at drama. Someone take a bet on me. I dare you.
My little studio apartment is such a mess. So messy that my building manager walked in my apartment and told me it looked like I had robbed myself! It’s very challenging living in a studio. I am literally busting-out of my closets. If you go to get a cup of sugar in the kitchen cabinet, you may find a box of headshots instead. And where the headshots should be kept, you may find the toilet paper. But it’s affordable and it’s by the beach.
I’m taking on another play “Savage in Limbo” at the Strasberg Theater in February. Playing a spectacular Barfly! I’ll be doing double time with my one-woman show. The Hooker and the Barfly. Sounds like a good book title. Speaking of, I better get going on writing those chapters. I don’t want that literary agent to think I’m not serious. It’s very hard to focus with so many interests. But I’m grateful I have them. I have a good friend who told me that she’s never discovered her passion in her life. I knew mine early on. Even when it didn’t make sense. That’s not to say I haven’t doubted my choices and their worthiness ten time over.
Rosh Hashanah started last Friday. I’m excited and ready to take stock, take responsibility (the tough part), renew my vows and start fresh…with the highest intentions. Of course. Happy New year to all!

I asked a B+ Agent to see my show, but he only goes to see baseball games

Sitting at my retail “day job” wishing three hours would mysteriously pass. Money remains a major obstacle in my life…and why I work in a woman’s clothing boutique when I am a total shopaholic is beyond me!

Julia Louise-Dreyfus came in here, to the store, a few days ago..that is two days before she won her coveted Emmy!

She seemed really nice. I wanted to talk to her, tell her about my show, but she was in a rush…probably looking for a dress for the million of after parties she had to go to…the kind I dream about. I wonder what it must feel like to win an award. I’ve walked down quite a few red carpets but don’t have much to show for it except a few pictures on Wire Image.

I feel like such an outsider. I didn’t even watch the Emmys this year. I watched a few minutes of the pre-show but after an eight- hour day of selling clothes…I had no patience. I felt like Cinderella in her old dress watching the stepsisters all dressed-up.

I got a mystery call to audition for a series regular on a new sitcom. I totally sabotaged myself. I saw the competition and decided to pull my hair back to make myself look younger, I ended-up looking like a nun. They probably had seen a picture of “Sugar” in my show, and expected a hot babe to walk-in. Instead I looked like Father Dowling’s sidekick without the habit. My reading was solid. Too bad. Why am I afraid to be myself?

I had another weird experience this week. I met with a B+ Agent. I asked him if he would come see my show. He said he doesn’t go out to see shows –he only goes to see baseball games. When I asked “Don’t you need to se my work?” he replied, “No, I market people, that’s what I do”.

I’ll be signing with him…for now. Oh come-on, it’s TV season. A girl’s gotta get out!

A writer from the BBC. David Willis, came to my show and wants to interview me. Pretty funny, really, since my show felt like “Dawn of the Dead” last week. But not David, bless him and his laughing face. A strange and wonderful phenomenon is occurring. My theater is beginning to fill every week, and I don’t know who any of these people are! I wish they would stay and introduce themselves. I’ve just revealed my entire life to them and it’s a strange feeling knowing that I’ll never see them again. Do they walk away with tiny particles of me? My life is a public one now. I’ve signed-up for this.

I once bought a greeting card that read: “I came to this world to live-out loud”. I’m finally doing it. I feel vulnerable and excited at the same time. How can I possibly feel so happy when the world around me is in a terrible state? Wars are waging and new ones lurk around the corner. I’m scared. Am I making any kind of difference? Can I dish out enough “Sugar” to make a change in the world? Will I rise to the opportunity to make people feel good with my acting? To make people laugh? That would be a worthy goal in life. And maybe it could reach across borders. Countries. It’s easy to be despaired in these times. The world needs Hollywood to make them feel good. Either that or wake them up.

I once heard a quote about art that I fell in love with “Art is comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable”.

Tomorrow night’s another show. Someone from E! Entertainment is coming. How about that?




A 4-year-old boy was in my audience! I’m not PG 13!

We make art out of what is given to us. Sometimes we are given the Taj Mahal, sometimes we are given a concrete wall. Whatever our view is, that’s what we have and we better make the most of it. I had a money-less long weekend but I was happily surprised over the pleasure I experienced creating an inventive recipe with a box of pasta and a can of olives.

I knew I was missing out on some fantastic summer finale in Cape Cod or the Hamptons. But hey, sometimes the small things feel good. Grounding. My old acting teacher said I wouldn’t be so driven if I had money. He’s right.

I was thrown for a loop at my last show. A four-year-old boy was in my audience! Ahh! I’m not PG 13! Take that kid home! According to his Dad, he sees a lot of theater. I wasn’t anything special. Still. Oh, and then there was that nice couple who brought me Scientology pamphlets. Thank you. Most people bring me flowers. Something new!

I met another gem of an agent this week. He gave me a horrible script to read with him (which incidentally had the women aggressively coming on to the man). He prefaced the reading by telling me that “You look like every other Actress and movie star in this town, so you better be amazing for me to even consider you!” (Hmm, that’s interesting,I thought my problem was that I didn’t look like anyone but Carol Burnett!).

In between phone calls and other interruptions, we finally read the scene. He gave me a curt “Thank you” and whisked me out of his office to see the next hopeful, a Shania Twain look-alike who was waiting in the hall. I wanted to break-out into “That don’t impress me much”.

I met with a literary agent over coffee. He wants me to write three chapters of a book. I have my first sentence. I’m really excited. I’m most excited that things feel like they’re really starting to move in my life. They were static for soooo long.

I’ve emailed half of the DGA Directory. I’m up to the letter “G”. A Sitcom Director came to my show last week. She received my invite and actually showed-up! We were in the middle of a great post-show conversation when we were informed that there was a bomb scare at the Starbucks across the street. I finally get a big Director interested and we have to evacuate!

Go figure! I never even had a chance to say “good-bye”. My first thought was to grab all of my props…I knew I would never find another bustier that would fit so well. I waited outside in my costume in front of 7-11 for over an hour.

I guess it turned out okay. My friend Lisa, who was at the show, said my next column should read: “Bombshell drops bomb”…”Superpower boobs”. “Rachel Bailit’s performance is so powerful that a bomb literally explodes outside the Lee Strasberg Theater. Don’t worry, the cops, sexy firemen, and bomb squad have made the area safe again to come-out and see “Sugar Happens”. I know I shouldn’t joke about it. But as they say, it’s all in the timing. And p.s., if you don’t know about my superpower boobs, then you HAVE to see my show ASAP!

One last thing, I’m talking to the folks at the HBO Comedy Festival. Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh, and a Yiddish club outside of Palm Springs is interested in me for a gig outside of Palm Springs. If I get that I probably won’t have to eat pasta and olives for a while.


The Imaginary Corset On My Brain and Body

I’ve been rehearsing the new second act of my show (which will be added in the beginning of 07’). I play myself twenty years from now. I’m having a tough time imagining how I’ll feel and look in twenty years. What kind of person I’ll be. How will I feel when I look back at my current self? I’ve been pondering the possibility of feeling shame. All of the sexy images…the show posters…Will it haunt me later? Will I feel embarrassed when I attend future PTA meetings or run for political office? Or when my kids google me and discover that my innocent “hooker” role on NYPD Blue “qualified” me for a listing on “Dr. Skin” (a loser pornographic website exploiting working Actresses). Or maybe I’ll be nostalgic? I might wish I could still pull-off the bustier look! Or even better, maybe I’ll be like Madonna and keep reinventing myself, creating my own idea of what it is to be a modern day mother and middle-aged woman. I only hope for inner peace. Whichever way I go.

Growing-up in conservative New England creates a permanent invisible corset on your body and brain. I sometimes wonder if my Hollywood life is an embarrassment to my family? Perhaps they can’t understand how much I’ve to evolve inside to be able to expose it on the outside. To stand on stage and feel empowered by my womanhood. An Actress trying to be taken seriously, breasts and all.

There are ten million TV shows being cast and I still don’t have an agent. I couldn’t bring myself around to sign with the baseball-loving agent who wouldn’t come see my work. I’m holding-out for someone better. Raising my standards.

I did audition for a coke commercial this week. In the meantime, my SAG health insurance runs out in January. It’s a problem staying “qualified” for the union insurance. I’ve done 50 shows on stage over the past fourteen months. In “SAG days”, I’d be on plan A by now! So I’m stocking-up on doctor visits. The other day I went to the dentist and had two and a half cavities filled. I’m on a payment plan. They hold my checks for a few months. I avoid a root canal.

My Gynecologist said he wants to come see the show. I won’t tell you where he was when he mentioned the idea. How can people separate the two? It’s the same with my old dentist. I never could understand how he could have dated me. Drilling and excavating the interior depths of my mouth and then kissing me a week later. Some people are really able to compartmentalize.

On the “list” for next week’s show: NBC casting!

Yipeeee! Ready for a series. Hope I squeeze it in with my Yiddish club booking in Palm Springs.


I’ll Always Have Paris

I performed for a full house last week. I exited the stage and stood outside the door, listening to the applause before taking my curtain call. Just at that moment I thought “Can this applause sustain me for a week?” “Will it feed me when I’m down or encourage me to stay up?” What keeps us going? As James Dean once said “ Being an artist is the loneliest thing in the world”.

Not long ago, I was in a real funk. Living in isolation. Watching the world happening around me and secretly panicking that I was somehow being left behind. I’d watch lots of foreign films, especially French ones by geniuses like Jean-Luc Godard, reviling in the “joie de vie” with which these zestful Parisians lived. Whether they were walking down the Champs-Elysees like Jean Seaburg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in “Breathless” or whether they were line-dancing in a bar in “A Band Apart”…these characters seemed to be feeling so much, drinking in life.

Anywhere in the world seemed better then my small life in Los Angeles. Yes, I was depressed. And yes, I felt helpless. And then a miracle happened. I attended a meeting I almost wasn’t supposed to be at, met a producer, met a writer, got a script, got a director, and got on stage. My one-woman show saved not only my career but my life. It was time to leave my Parisians behind. It was time to find the “life” in my life. Some nights I still want to crawl into bed and cross-continents and be with those people. It’s okay every once in a while. I may never have the glamour I pine for, I may only feel traces of it when I flip through a Vogue magazine or splurge on a meal at Le Petit Bistro.

Whatever makes us feel alive is worth pursuing. I find what’s going on in North Korea and other parts of the world to be extremely threatening and depressing. I even fear I may not be able to travel freely one day and wonder if now is the time to take a hiatus and see the world. Maybe some day there will only be my movies. Stop Rachel. Listen to the applause. Remember what is good. Hold on to the happiness. No matter where it comes from. It’s yours.


The Art of Zen and Tongue Kissing

“Keep it simple”…that’s what a stranger told me today. Then it was verified when I saw a sign in a store window one minute later “simple”. I had been complaining that I live in a one-room apartment and work in a store that’s the size of some people’s walk-in closet. Is it possible that the Universe is telling me to keep it simple? What a dichotomy when I’m pursuing this larger-then-life career? Perhaps it’s all in the way I approach my career. Don’t get caught-up in the materialistic things that will imprison me, mentally and physically. The “overhead” that will stop me from soaring like a free bird into the arts of my choice.

Big news. I got a Manager this week. Even bigger news, she found ME! And she’s a real spitfire! And hungry. Like me. I had to drive down to San Diego to meet her. But it was worth it.

My second bit of BIG news is that I got a job! A real job that pays. It’s a new late-night sketch comedy show on the Cartoon Network called “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job “. No, I’m not a cartoon character but I feel like one taking this job. Get this, I have to make-out with the lead guy. I’m slightly weirded-out by this. It’s all improv so hopefully I’ll get a few words in before he slips his tongue down my throat. It’s an Aftra job but I’m a “must join” so the money I earn will most likely go towards my membership into the union. So, I’m basically going to do the gig so I can get a current TV credit on my resume. “NYPD Blue” just isn’t cutting it! A kiss with a stranger= a new credit. How Hollywood is that???

Rehearsal on the second new act of my one-woman show is going great. In order to age twenty years, I’ve had to channel my eighth grade lesbian English teacher combined with a little of my straight Father. It’s an interesting combination. My voice has dropped about five registers and my femininity has all but vanished. Whatever it takes.

I was approached by a high-end Boston magazine to be among a small elite group of accomplished people from Boston to answer a question: “Which of your new year’s resolutions are you most likely to break?”(I haven’t figured out the answer yet). Isn’t that fabulous? If it doesn’t work for me in LA, I may work on becoming a celebrity in Boston. There’d be a lot less headaches and redheads. And I’m sure I can dig out that pair of wide-whale cords, my Fair Isle sweater and my mental corset.


Sidewalks and Golden Globes

As much as I would have loved to have been graced with a Golden Globe this past week, I can’t help but be amused at the career I’ve created in Hollywood. That is, without being an actual part of Hollywood. I’m a movie within a movie. I mean my theater is literally RIGHT up the street from CBS and right down the street from “The Lot”. So close that I could trip over some big movie executive, that is, if they actually walked anywhere. It’s so ironic to me. Can one be a star within one’s own life and be happy with that?

While visiting home a few weeks ago, I took a walk around my old neighborhood. I was comforted to see that while the town had grown and changed, the sidewalks were the original ones that I’d walked on as a child. I felt immense happiness seeing their imperfections, deep cracks, and uneven well-worn surfaces. Cars whished by me now and then. But in-between there was a poignant silence. It was then I realized that I was in on one of the biggest secrets of all time. The sidewalks were impervious to all the activity around them. Like the Zen still rock in the middle of the storm, my sidewalks held their own. What staying power they had! What a revelation! I, too, am like a sidewalk! I may not be Rodeo or Sunset but I’ve paved my concrete and laid down my road. That big movie executive just might take the road less traveled one day and find ME there! So that’s why stars adopt certain parts of freeways! And maybe that’s why my theater is on “Hayworth” street. What a smart cookie Rita was!

2007’s been good to me. One callback to be the new face of a potato chip campaign and one audition to comedically distract and convince TV viewers to rent Alamo cars! Now tell me that’s not more glamorous then winning a little golden statue!


Finding Luck in unusual places

I did it! All three acts in the Marilyn Monroe Theater at Strasberg on Wednesday night! I’ve been work shopping my one-woman show for two years and it’s finally come together.

The evening was scintillating. Besides buttoning my cardigan sweater wrong and improvising a tad, it went swimmingly well.

I hope to have an official opening in the fall.

It’s amazing how confidence has to be earned. Only by jumping off the cliff do we learn to trust the net will be there.

But the first jump is the hardest. In fact, it’s excruciating. But I wouldn’t trade the feeling of accomplishment for anything in the world. Success too, must be earned. Sure, it comes real effortlessly to some people. That’s never been the case with me. It seems that I’ve always had to put forth a substantial effort before things were given to me. When I was still, so was my career. It’s been a partnership. A give and take.

It’s similar to bargain shopping. It’s so easy to find something you love at Bloomingdales. But try a thrift store or a Ross and the adventure gets going. Maybe I enjoy the work. Or has life just conditioned me not to wait to have things handed to me?

Speaking of second-hand stores, I had a great stroke of “luck”. Two days before my show opened I still had no shoes (or money) for my “suburban housewife” in act 2. I entered Goodwill at 9am and there they were…the perfect pink tweed ballet flats with a ribbon to boot! They were in perfect condition and cost me 2.99. I would have paid 200. Dollars for them! Everything in my universe felt in place at that moment. God was at Goodwill. And my show would go on!

One little glitch, my bottom front tooth broke in half while eating a carrot tonight. I look like a witch if I smile real wide. I hope my Dentist can see me before my next show. I pray he’ll take a postdated check too. I don’t want to scare my audience. Although a little empathy wouldn’t hurt. I might look gritty. It might add character. Isn’t that how you win an Oscar in this town? Dare to act ugly.


The Bear Within

Another holiday weekend spent in retail prison. Can one night a week on stage sustain me? So far, yes. But I desire a much more balanced and complete life. When you’re poor, money does seem like it buys happiness.

But alas, times are changing! I just got my first paid booking to do my one-girl show at the Whitefire Theater on June 26th. I am very excited! And who knows, maybe a change from West Hollywood to the Valley is just what I need. Different climate.

More smog and heat may bring out the best in me.

I am looking for a money-man (or woman). It seems like the road to Broadway must be paved with dollar bills. How will I do it? Running your own show is expensive. How many times can I reuse my postcards? The “new dates” stickers on top of the “old dates” stickers? A show needs a budget. I’d like to hit on some of my relatives, they’ve offered, but I’m too embarrassed. They’re staunch conservative New Englanders. How will they feel financing a play in which I discuss boobs and sex, not to mention my sometimes dysfunctional family. No. Better to find someone on the outside.

I auditioned for a music video playing opposite Jason Alexander last week. I didn’t get it but I did cry in the audition. Not bad. My heart is accessible. Even for George Costanza.

Back in the Marilyn Monroe Theater this week. We’ve made the finishing touches on the show. It might be time to leave it alone now. The cake is baked. I’m already thinking of my next solo show. After all, this is what I “think” I want to do with the rest of my life. Time’s a wasting. There’s more Rachel then appears before the eye. My Producer friend once said, “You never really know anyone completely”. It’s a startling but beautiful thought. I think everyone should have secrets. It’s important to have a good relationship with yourself. I’m like a bear. I hibernate, nourish myself, and become strong within my own skin. Then I get on stage and let you see what’s inside. Then I become the bear again. And the cycle repeats. It’s called self-preservation.


You Take the Cake!

A milestone. I’ve been writing my diary in this newspaper for one year! Do you think I’ll get a cake? Yum. Hope it’s chocolate.

I am currently on “hold” for a small role on Desperate Housewives”. I’m pretty excited. On “hold” means that I am probably one of two or three Actresses they are deciding between hiring. I feel like a cow at a cattle auction. But I know better then to take it personally. It’s the process of casting, for better or worse.

It seems like lots of people are holding my career in the palms of their hands lately. The theater producer is considering my show, the sales job is deciding whether to employ me, and my future as a “Housewife” is dangling in front of me. My friend gave me some Deepak Chopra “success” cards for my birthday. Today I selected one that seems very appropriate so I’ll share: “It’s up to me to give life meaning—I don’t expect others to give meaning for me. I create my own reality”. How profound is that? Own my life. Stop sitting in people’s sweaty palms. I am so tired of being the victim of other people’s “wishy-washiness”. I don’t have the time. A friend once advised me to learn the meaning of the word “NO”. Sometimes no answer is a “no” disguised. I trust my own vision. I know there is an island of yes’s waiting for me. I just have to find it. In the movie “Million Dollar Baby”, Hilary Swanks character calls it “Risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”. We all have our own inner maps. I believe in fate but I always believe that we have the option to take the wrong turns.

I now have three part-time jobs. Running from one to the next keeps me very busy. Compared to this, being on stage is like a vacation at a spa. I have one more show at the Whitefire Theater. Then I’ll have to pack-up my truckload of props and furniture and move-on. It’s sort of like being in a traveling circus. I’m the clown, of course. Funny red hair and all.

I did get a college-booking agent. He’s really young. In our initial meeting I wanted to card him before he ordered a drink.

But he seems really hip and “in” with the college entertainment scene. Apparently there’s loads of money to be made. So I’ll be happy and willing to take my circus on the road. Maybe I can hit a few fraternity parties while I’m at it. Once a sorority girl, always a sorority girl. Did I ever mention the time I did “sorority rush” and got rejected by every sorority house? It was a great preparation for Hollywood. I just rushed again and eventually got into one. No one’s going to keep me out. No one’s going to tell me “You can’t enjoy this experience”. Like a sorority, this town has so many locked doors, so many secret passwords, so many rites of passage. And you’re either outside or inside the door. There’s no in between. So keep rushing until you get in or pick a lock or two if you have to. Who said life is fair?


Hookers rallying for good causes

My day on the set of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES was anything but Desperate. I was given first class treatment all the way! The job reminded me of why I came to Hollywood in the first place. It’s amazing how the real professionals treat you with respect and appreciation while the wanna-be’s walk all over you. This set was as good as it gets. And my Desperate Housewife of choice was Teri Hatcher; a classy, intelligent and genuinely nice person. We had a scene together. I’ve never seen an Actress care so much about her choices and the truth and logic of her character. Maybe television can be as challenging as Theater. It’s all about what YOU bring to the table. Give an Oscar worthy performance in a student film, deliver a Tony winning role in a scene night in your acting school. Be the person you want to be in any circumstance. Same in life. Be honest in a room full of liars. Be the best.

Hookers and Witches. There seems to be a recurring theme in the parts I’m auditioning for. It must be my intimidating glare. At least I’m getting out now. Having a credit on a top TV show seems to have revitalized my career!

My show at the Whitefire was “okay”. Not as much of a party as it usually is. I’ve been so fortunate to have all good press but some lady, a teacher no less, had the audacity to write that my show was awful on Goldstar. I’d hate to be her student. No praise for effort or ideas for improvement, just “You’re awful”.

I know I’m not awful so it doesn’t matter. Besides, I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m too controversial (and hope to stay that way!).

I auditioned for a new JLO music video. I was shocked on how disorganized the audition was. I felt it was unfair that people waited hours to be seen while some arrived and were seen right away. So I became my best “Norma Rae” and got to work defending the rights of my fellow actors. It made me feel good. I hate seeing people being taken advantage of. I was blessed with a BIG mouth and I intend to use it. I could create a career patrolling auditions. Be an undercover agent for SAG. Or maybe I’d prefer to be like Spiderman and just do it to better the world. I’ll need a costume of course. And a new name.


Biding Time In Hollywood

It’s a real trip taking reservations for my show. People call the number and expect a ticket service and it’s ME! It’s so “grassroots”. Who needs Telecharge, Ticketron, Ticketmaster?

Why not speak directly to the actress you’ll see on stage. Maybe I could make some money doing bits of the show on the phone. A sort of “preview”. Heck, maybe I can charge people to listen to my entire play on the phone. It would be like phone sex but with a brain.

I’m very pleased with the press I’m receiving. My Google alert is assaulting me every couple of hours! Wait until I really open!

I’ve still not found a theater in LA to house my show. I feel like I’m floating without a net. What’s new?

I had a callback for a new Wendy’s commercial in which I would play a person without a mouth. I had to put tape over my lips for the audition. Talk about repressing art! Let’s hope the government doesn’t get a hold of this idea.

I’ve decided that I must get a fulltime job. Normally I would be depressed at this prospect but this time around I’m surrendering to the idea. I simply can’t take the struggle and the poverty. Now, that said, I was happy to learn about the plethora of interesting jobs available on Craig’s list. My first interview was at a Mercedes Dealership. It’s very “chichi”. I’d be doing marketing. Think of the perks. I could be driving to auditions in a new SL Benz.

I don’t believe that one can have it all without sacrificing something. I mean, I can’t run around auditioning and doing theater and expect my bills to get paid miraculously. A conscious decision has to be made. I have to grow-up sometime. We’re all running around this town with Peter Pan complexes.

We look young, we feel young, so who needs to grow-up? I do.

“De-nial” may be a river in Egypt, but consciousness may be a luxury home in Beverly Hills. So, one day at a time, as those smart twelve steppers say.

Scary story, Minnie Driver came into the store where I work part-time. She asked me to watch her dog while she shopped and it snuck-out while I wasn’t looking. How horrifying for her. I could just see the newspapers “Local actress-sales girl loses movie star’s dog. Was it an act of jealousy and sabotage”? Fortunately for all, we found the dog in the shop next door. She was incredibly understanding and kind. No dogs or babies on my watch.

I really want the new Iphone. It’s killing me. I became a KJAZZ supporter just so I could enter a sweepstakes to win one.

My blackberry is antiquated. It’s always about “the next thing” in this town. It’s impossible to stay the same without falling behind. It reminds me of my hamster habit trail I had growing-up. I used to watch my hamster “Candy” travel round and round on that thing for hours. She had no peace of mind until a dog devoured her one-day. Poor Candy. Is that the only way to get off this ride? Ouch. I’ll stay on.


Creative One-Two Punch

I hit a double-header. My show, with it’s new ending, was a great success and my “Desperate Housewives” episode, airing on the very same evening, scored me a multitude of congratulatory emails from around the country. Apparently, even playing a “skanky” character with teased rat hair and black-eyed circles was not enough to hide me. My play, on the other hand was completely revealing with no attempt at disguise. Adding a fourth character was a stretch. Where I faltered and stammered, I grew in closeness with my audience. They appreciated my candor and acknowledgement of my mistakes. They even found it funny. It made me human. It took away all pretenses. I’m finally where I want to be. In my own skin. And comfortable. I feel liked for being me, from the inside out. Not the other way around.

I went to see and support another one-woman show last weekend. The play is titled “Suburban Showgirl” and stars Palmer Davis. She’s magnificent. So much talent on one little stage. She had a line that keeps echoing in my head. “Sometimes the late bloomers stay fresh longer.” I’ve always been a late bloomer. But I never saw it as having a benefit. But perhaps time is on my side. After all, I didn’t make it when I was in the “O.C” stage and I was no Lindsay Lohan (in status or in sobriety). I’m only hitting my stride now. Why? Well for me, my late blossom had to fend its way through some serious thorns, wire fences, and growth. I had to grow from a girl to a woman. I had to possess myself. I take to take control of my creative reigns and make a choice. For me, it was the one-woman show. There’s no room to stay the “little girl” when you have to perform and entertain for 75 minutes. “the little girl”, “the little boy”…whoever it is, is a cute and charming companion when your snuggled-up in bed with a bowl of popcorn but not so cute when you are confronted with real adult issues in the world. The adult in us has to step-up at some point. And Hollywood does not demand this of us. Especially when it thrives on youth and the absorption of those ripe “beautiful” years. It’s actually intimidating to people to be around a self-possessed person. A person who knows what they want and asks for what they want. They are called “arrogant, pushy, self-absorbed”. But what is the real crime of knowing what you want and asking for it? I know a show like mine could seem narcissistic. And maybe it threatened to be at some moments. But ironically, what I’ve come to discover is the only thing I care about is not caring about myself on stage. Lessening my own importance while keeping my value.

Don’t shrink for others. It’s not cute. Even Shirley Temple had to grow-up, even Dorothy had to leave Oz. and even you, have to recognize that no container can hold you for too long. You’re simply too big a person. Fill your shoes; you have lots of steps to take and have others to fill. And be kind to yourself during the process because growing pains are tough. Take it one inch at a time. But appreciate your new height and stand tall.

I wor r-x_y asked me to watch her dog while she shopped and it snuck-out while I wasn’t looking. How horrifying for her. I could just see the newspapers “Local actress-sales girl loses movie star’s dog. Was it an act of jealousy and sabotage”? Fortunately for all, we found the dog in the shop next door. She was incredibly understanding and kind. No dogs or babies on my watch.

I really want the new Iphone. It’s killing me. I became a KJAZZ supporter just so I could enter a sweepstakes to win one.

My blackberry is antiquated. It’s always about “the next thing” in this town. It’s impossible to stay the same without falling behind. It reminds me of my hamster habit trail I had growing-up. I used to watch my hamster “Candy” travel round and round on that thing for hours. She had no peace of mind until a dog devoured her one-day. Poor Candy. Is that the only way to get off this ride? Ouch. I’ll stay on.


How an Actor and a Character Connect

Passover did a number on my digestion this year but the discipline of going “without” something (bread) for a week has done wonders for my will power. It’s good to have a reason, a cause, to live purposefully. I crave structure and meaning in my life. I want a life map that will point me n the next direction.

I’m looking for signs I have an entirely free summer to travel and perform. Where do I go first? The sky’s the limit! Do I have the courage to leave Los Angeles, my comfort zone?

No word from Comedy Central n my recent show. This is my second signed option with them. I’m going to go back and do a third show on their stage at the Hudson. With the exception of the gracious people that book me in the space, no one at the network seems to know I exist!

My second play, “Savage In Limbo,” had a who’s-who of attendees. A Pulitzer prize winning playwright, an Academy Award-nominated director and more. It tickles me, the incredibility of our lives touching for a brief moment. The play surprises me every night. I’m discovering that my most poignant and deeply felt moments are my silent ones, when I feel the suffering of the characters around me. Their pain is so visceral. I feel like a container, encapsulating and ingesting their emotions. I never cried freely in front of an audience the way I have in this play. I am finally stripping away the final layer between myself and humanity.

Hallelujah. I’ve been so alone.

Back to my one-girl show. “Sugar.” We have a goal to stage all three acts on April 25th. And then we’ll work the heck out of them all summer. Discover them, sculpt them, refine them.

I feel like Rodin. I’ve visited the Rodin museum in Paris. My second visit I was an art student infatuated with every piece of clay I could lay my eyes on. I’ll never forget a sculpture titles\d “Hand of God”. It was a big open fist with a man and woman lying protected inside. Rodin knew humility. I aspire to approach my work this way. The “not knowing” is turning out to be the best part of life. It used to be the scariest. But I know know that unwanted routine is what sallows my spirit.

I need to initiate change. I’m waiting for it to happen to me, but it seems to be waiting for me to make the first move. Maybe life is one big courtship.


Fear and Loathing In Acting Class

I took a class with a “big” TV episodic director this week. It was only three nights but it felt more like a month. Think boot camp! His goal was to get us to “open up”. His tool was a mediocre scripted death scene from a current sci-fi show. From night one I didn’t like this guy. Too Cynical. Too curt. By night two it was obvious that he thought I couldn’t “deliver” and that he didn’t think I had any talent. So I got real angry. By night three I decided to forget him and concentrate on the work he had put before me. And on the final evening “we” accomplished our goal: I “opened-up” And you know what? He actually was a nice guy after all. The experience was enlightening in hindsight. I was so afraid of the task put before me that I deferred all of my fear onto him. It’s so easy to blame other people of find other ways to cover up our fear instead of facing them straight on. Don’t shoot the messenger—the message might be worthwhile.

Two magazines are coming to my show this week. One is a hip Hollywood rag that does great profiles on actors—even theater actors! Oh, I love the press. Writing for it and being written about. I’m insatiable. There’s something so permanent about being in print. Being on stage is living-out many magical fleeting moments. But being in print, there are no second chances. It’s dry ink.

I’m shooting some pictures tomorrow with a big celebrity photographer. He does all the “red carpets”. He’s doing it a favor and I can use all the favors I can get. So I better get my beauty sleep. I’m smart enough to know that it’s a package I’m selling. I’m going fill force marketing “Sugar” now. It’s hard to keep up. The camera is unforgiving of my hectic lifestyle and will catch every dark circle and doubtful nuance. So I best be rested and sure of myself. Hollywood is unforgiving. I know I’m already pushing matters by not succumbing to Botox. But hey, what’s the hurry?

And what’s wrong with a little expression when I act? Is that so wrong?


An Actors’s Resolution

I feel like I’m living in the eye of a tornado. 12-hour days running from work to rehearsals to work and rehearsals. By nine o’clock I’m a marshmallow. My life in the theater is thriving. I’m rehearsing my two plays and working on two scenes. Auditions on the other hand have been sparse. I was called to play a “sex addict” in an independent film that sounded like an even cheaper version of “American Pie”. The sides read like soft porn. I didn’t go.

The Strasberg Institute will close for the holidays so I’ll be “Sugarless” for a month. I’ll really miss doing my show. But I’m going out with a bang with an almost full house tonight!

The holidays are always a bit depressing. Nothing to distract me from the dark realization that I have no money to go along with my holiday cheer. I know I should relax and refuel for the upcoming year but my engines already full.

I am going home to Boston for a few days. Along with seeing family and friends, I’ll take a meeting with the high profile magazine “Boston Common”. They’ve promised me a feature story. So that’s good.

There should be a twelve-step group for Actors during the holidays. Maybe after we vent our problems we can sit around and do cold readings. There is such a thing as “acting withdrawal”…it entails leaving our fantasy lives to live in the harsh cold reality of life. No “characters” to prepare for, no acting teachers to validate our talent and no rushing around town to take meetings that make us feel busy and productive, even if we often are just burning mileage on our well- worn cars.

Alas, I will offer some good holiday cheer and hope! Pilot season is around the corner. Resolutions will have been made reassuring us that this is the year we’ll “make it”. So be strong. Hang-on. And if all else fails, go to the library and pick-up a copy of Stanislavski: An Actor Prepares” and you’ll be ready for 2007 for sure!


Contemplating Legacies

I’ve got the day job blues. Need to be here. Wish I were anywhere but here. I work in a retail store. I’m here by myself, which is a good thing, otherwise I would not have gotten away with the manicure/pedicure I just gave myself, the postcards I labeled or the writing I am presently doing.

My life continues to be filled with theater. I’m rehearsing two plays and working on two scenes in class. I may not be getting paid, but I sure feel like a working actress. I keep asking myself: Is there some lesson in this? How long can I go on acting without earning a cent?

This weekend I experienced two vastly different pieces of art. The first was Sofia Coppola’s film “Marie Antoinette”. For a Francophile like myself, it was a delicious pate’ of French royalty, romance, beauty, and regality. The second was Phil Ramuno’s finely directed play “Flirting With Morty” playing at the Acme Theater in Hollywood. The play is complexly layered, weaving predominant themes of incest and child abuse. I found a common thread linking the movie and the play. They both addressed the issue of “legacy”, the passing of life values from one generation to another. Both leading characters bring forth children into unsafe environments. One is filled with angry French citizens wanting the Queen’s head; the other is filled with sexual predators on the prowl. Both children are physically unprotected and helpless.

It made me ask: Are we responsible for what we give birth to in this world? Do we need to protect what we create? As an artist, how wise am I delivering myself into the arms of Hollywood? Most certainly an unsafe, unpredictable, fickle environment, this town can devour you or completely ignore you. How selective can we afford to be? Desperate to make it, do we come to this town offering ourselves up to a false G-D? Is Hollywood our golden calf? It’s like loving an unworthy man, You keep giving and you know that you’re not getting back what you deserve. But you keep giving, wearing that big beautiful heart on your sleeve. Thousands of actors have come before me. What examples did they leave me? How did they cope? Oh, if only I could have a day with Marilyn, Katharine or Lana. Or, all the supporting and bit actresses who aren’t remembered. The questions I’d have. All I can do is wonder. To try and stay afloat. Maybe I’ll write a book for the next generation of actors. I’ll title it “Share Your Heart, But Don’t Give It Away”—famous last words from a hard-working actress who kept a little for herself.


In Praise of Singularity

I often support myself by working in commercial casting. It always brings me insight from “the other side”. This past week’s job made me reflect on how actors are treated during the audition process. In a callback session, the director refused to call the actors by their names (even though he had their individual headshots directly in front of him). He would say “okay, you, blue shirt” or “you, red shirt”. I found it incredibly impersonal and demeaning. I must say that I have never encountered this before. Most directors are “people’s people”. I can only guess that maybe by distancing himself in this way, the director wouldn’t feel bad if he didn’t hire the actor. To me, it looked like he was treating the actors like cattle. Yes, there are a lot of us. But we all have a name, an identity and a purpose. We are all unique human beings.

I remember once reading a statement from the philosopher Martin Buber.

I can’t remember it exactly but the idea was that we are created as a “one-of-a kind”,” never to be repeated again (unless we’re cloned and even then, we wouldn’t be the exact person, we’d be a number…#2 Rachel, a copy of number 1 and number 3, a copy of number 2). It went on to say that it is our responsibility to make the utmost effort to discover what our unique purpose in this world is and with that knowledge, fulfill our unique role in the world. That’s how I interpreted it. If anyone reading this has the exact quote, let me know.

I’m meeting with a manager over coffee at a Starbucks this week. He used to be an assistant at a small “C” agency I was with a few years back. Now he’s got his own company. I found myself having to pitch myself a little “too” hard on the phone. He got under my skin by asking, “What have you been doing the past two years???” (After learning that my most recent TV credit was on “NYPD Blue”). He simply could not understand how I could have spent my last two years doing “theater”. That my one-woman show was more important then TV. I tried to explain that I was investing in myself. That I wanted to create my own career. That going solo was the most empowering and rewarding thing I had ever done. That I might actually be creating something bigger for myself.

Maybe he’ll get it when we meet for coffee, but I think I’m setting myself up for more frustration and a depletion of my energy and efforts by “explaining my life” away. Part of maturity is owning yourself. Your choices. Not constantly defending who you are and trying to get other people to validate your efforts. It’s an uphill battle.

Going back to the clone thing, we’re not supposed to all be alike. It’s OK that you don’t get me as long as you respect me and I respect you for those differences.

Sitting On A Rainbow

I’m on top of the world. I did it! My show at the Comedy central Stage felt easy, even breezy, and fun! My Rabbi Therapist says that’s the way it’s supposed to be when you’re in the right place at the right time (i.e., when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing). the new act was a thrill to do! Now it’s back to work to put up the last act. and then I’ll have a complete show. I think about New York all the time. Broadway, off Broadway, off-off Broadway—anywhere I can do my show and get a good bagel.

I want to get out of Hollywood. rid the expectations of a TV series. I’m going to concentrate on a life in the theater: the higher, more refined art, the credible path, the purest of all. Oh, who am i kidding? Comedy central filmed my show three-camera and I loooved it! I’m praying for a series! Of course they already have Sarah Silverman. I wonder if two shows about two Jewish girls is too much for one network? That’s a lot of chutzpah for the airwaves to handle.

And of course there is my second play “Savage In Limbo”. that will open at the Strasberg theater on March 23. It’s challenging and wonderful material. I’ve always had a tendency to play disturbed characters. I prefer the pain to be right out there for all to see. To play a character incapable of disguising the ugly, the unwanted, one who is the result of a life gone wrong. Unless you’re willing to “cut a vein” for the audience, why act?  Sometimes it’s hard to achieve, but the struggle to do every performance is a noble quest and a motivation to keep acting.

I auditioned for yet another “Hooker” for a new pilot over the weekend. The Casting Director was neurotic. In contrast, I was cool and calm. I’d barely taken the Tic-Tac out of my mouth and it was over. Another unmemorable meaningless audition for a bit part. Just a reminder from the Universe to change my path. To start looking for new avenues of satisfaction. To ask the question “What will fulfill me that doesn’t involve Hollywood deciding which hole to put my peg in?”

Rilke said, “The answers are in the questions.” So start asking! It’s never too late to change.


Rising to the Occasion(s)

Lately I’ve been thinking: I’m like a sealed loaf of bread that’s sitting on a store shelf. I’ve been created with the best ingredients (the finest acting teachers), people have been taken bites of me (auditions). Taken me home and then returned me after a day or two (co-star and featured parts), but no one’s felt the need to savor me, to have me for “keeps” (series regular/leading lady). So here I sit on the shelf, nicely preserved, waiting, wondering if my time will come.

I enjoyed dropping by the AFI Film Festival and the American Film Market this week. I realize that I would be much more successful if I went to these events on a regular basis. I’m too busy being a serious and studious actress. Ah, the irony of life. The Catch 22’s…you can’t get work without an agent, you can’t get an agent without having worked first. You can’t act without training but you can’t get work if you’re not out meeting people.

A girl could go a little crazy. So I say, make your own rules, march to your own beat, find your own path. If all else fails, and nothing becomes of my show, I’ll say: “I did it my way”.

So when I feel anxious, like the loaf of bread waiting, I dig deeper, work harder, apply myself. Maybe I’ll win an Oscar when I’m 90…

Maybe Darwin’s right—it is the “survival of the fittest”.

On another note, glad we have some fresh blood in the U.S. Senate and House. Change is good.

I’m off to meet a Director for lunch. He wants me to cast a commercial for him. Fine. It beats working in the store. Tonight I’m going to a party for some celebrity publicist. I rarely get invited to these type of events. I don’t even have the wardrobe to go. But I could use a publicist, so I’m going. If nothing else, I’ll be my own walking publicist and carry a few hundred postcards for my one-woman show in my purse, ready to distribute at any given moment.


ShowBiz’s Funny Math

I did my first paying gig at the Whitefire Theater. Funny, it was paid performance but I still owed more money then I made. That’s show biz. You have to “put-out first”. Yes, I meant money!!! Shame on you. The show was a big laugh fest! Guffaws, hee-hee’s and the occasional sympathetic “aw”. I can’t wait for my next show on July 18th.

I met an off-Broadway Theater Producer who is interested in my play. He says I need 100 grand to get my show-up? He has an opening in his 46th street theater in August. Wow, my dream could be much easier realized then possible. It’s just 100 thousand dollars away. That’s two shopping sprees for Paris Hilton.

I still think I should have a grand LA opening! My show is about Hollywood. I need a venue. I’ve got a theme going here. NY, LA, I need a place to hang my corset and call home. What’s an Actress without a stage? A surgeon has an operating room, a Rabbi has a Temple, and a Waiter has a table.

I have a viable commodity now that my show is ready. I don’t want to sit on it. I’m looking for a Thomas Guide to my life.

I had a mortifying experience shopping at Whole Foods in Brentwood. I ran into a casting director. He looked into my shopping cart at my boxes of generic brand Mac and Cheese. He must have thought “poor starving actress”. Incidentally, Marg Helgenberger was in the store too (NOT buying Mac and Cheese). Anyhow, I got to the counter to use my house “emergency food account” and the card wasn’t any good. Just then the casting director walked by. I smiled as if all was well. Fortunately I had an atm card and I could leave the store in peace. Another brush with danger. I better start shopping at the Dollar store with big dark sunglasses.

I was asked to audition to be the next “Elvira”. I’m not quite sure if I should be flattered or insulted. Plus, do I really want to be a vamp? I’ll never be able to experience an autonomous Halloween. Not to mention I’d have to give-up my favorite pussycat costume, tail and all. Most importantly, will I be taken seriously? No, I don’t think the paychecks worth it. All we have is our self-esteem. Our dignity. It’s so tempting to ditch it at times. But hold on to it. It’s your cherry, so to speak.

Hmm…dignity in Hollywood, an interesting tpic. I will admit that I’ve been a victim of the casting couch. It’s a very uncomfortable seat indeed. Its cushions are made of flattery and promises. Its springs are made of deceit and consumption.

I’d like to give a class to young actors and actresses arriving in Hollywood. Maybe I could meet them at the bus station and give them a “welcome to Hollywood watch out for the sleaze-bags” lecture. Lesson one; Casting goes on in offices, not bedrooms. Lesson two; YOU shouldn’t have to pay money to get a part. Lesson three; People are not always out for your best interest even if they are wearing Gucci and a third “alleged” cousin of Steven Spielberg’s. That said, “Enjoy your stay and hope you win an Oscar!”


Making Ends Meet

Times are changing. I feel it. My positive thinking is manifesting all sorts of cool stuff. I have a new car and can actually get to a new audition without taking four buses! It was a real trip, car shopping. The worst was my “funeral procession experience.” I was test-driving a Honda down by the airport. While at a stoplight awaiting a long line of cars leaving a local cemetery, I remarked to my car salesman, “Wow, you really have to appreciate life and every day that you have.” He retorted, “Look how many of those people are driving Hondas!” I guess it was life or death for him to make the sale.

My job at the law firm is going better. I’ve surrendered to the 9-5 life. Well, in L.A. it’s the 10:30-7 life. If I leave for an audition, I can always stay late. Everyone’s a workaholic in the office, so there’s no hurry to rush home. If you can’t fight’em, join’em. Who needs a personal life?

After only a month, I realized I’d already been there too long when the other day I realized that my dress matched the carpet. Uncanny but true. The job is similar to an acting gig. It’s as if I’m playing a role of a “legal assistant” every day. My “previous moment” is downing my latte’ in my car filled with dread of entering the corporate doldrums. I have a “costume” of pearls and pencil skirts. My “character” is friendly and hardworking.” My “motivation” is to earn a big paycheck. My “do or die experience” is to pay the rent so I don’t get evicted. My “conflict” is wanting to work full-time as an actress.

I had to reschedule my show for this week. Not enough people. I would have lost a lot of money. The theater moved me to a Sunday night in two weeks. Much better. Although it is a conflict with the airing of my “Desperate Housewives” episode.

I’ll have to race to the stage and find a TV. I know I could tape it but there’s something about watching yourself being broadcast while other people are watching at the same time. Some sort of synergy. There’s also some kind of kudos being broadcast on a first-run episode. And then of course there’s the second one, which you can take to the bank and residual heaven.

I’ve been reflecting on the subject of legacy. In my various jobs, I seem to be assisting many people in the task of “archiving” their lives. There is a storage facility by the name of “Iron Mountain”. Quite fable-like, it’s a facility in some faraway place where you pay to send off the items in your life that you’d like to be archived. So far, I’ve only helped people send off files and important documents. But in my imagination, I’m sending off pieces of their lives. Some they want out of their vision, whether to forget or simply leave behind. I wonder if there is a mountain where I can deposit my bad memories? The baggage I carry from my personal life. What about my life in Hollywood? The abusive acting teachers, the “no thank-you’s”, the sleazy producers, the tundra of unpaid bills. Could a mountain sustain such weight? This idea of “packing” things away is worthy of exploring. The concept of giving the responsibility to someone else. To avoid looking at what’s unpleasant. I personally believe that this isn’t a final solution. It’s putting-off the inevitable, our “boxes” still exist. Cutting people or things out of your life may solve the immediate problem but our souls have memories. And memories, as we know, come back to haunt us. Whether in a dream or in the replication of a relationship or reaction. We are our experiences. And if we deal with them in the here and now, we won’t need to cart them away for a rainy thunderous day. I don’t want to leave a legacy of boxes. I don’t want my important matters closed-up in cardboard. Face what you have to while it’s happening or as soon as you can. Don’t put off pain. And don’t box away your feelings. They’re just feelings, not facts. Recycle that old box and turn it into a fresh piece of paper in which to write the next chapter of your life.

Searching For My Glass Slipper

Agenda. Seems like everyone’s got one. When a woman approached me in a store about coming to a Hare Krishna center with her, I returned the invite with a postcard to my show. It only seemed right. It was an exchange. If we had no agendas we’d have no motivations and in turn no purpose to our lives.

I have a new headshot. Having a new headshot always makes me feel like I have a new lease on life. As though no other picture in the past really could capture or sell me the way this one will. It’s pure disillusionment. But it makes me feel better.

On my return flight home from Boston last week, I took advantage of the fresh clarity I possessed from being out of Hollywood for a mere four days. I thought long and hard. How much longer can I live in this fantasy world? Days become years. Opportunities to live a broader life that encompasses more then “making it in Hollywood” pass by. It seems that every time I return to LA I purchase a ticket much like one would to Disneyland. Time stops. Everyone else is at the park too. And we get so caught-up with the thrill of the rides, the rise and decent of the roller coasters, the fantasy and charades of the costumes and the darkness of the Haunted House. So like Hollywood. I want to choose another destination. I want a ticket to a destination that’s not the “Happiest place on earth” but maybe the “realest place on earth”. I want to see what’s in the haunted house with me. I want to see who’s in the costumes beside me. I want clarity.

But I’ve bought the ticket. And I’m going to have to finish this particular ride because I’ve paid my admission and until I can find a safe place to get off, I’ll have to just wait.

P.S. New Year’s Eve at Henry Jaglom’s party was exciting. Eclectic people and artists surrounded me. I felt at home. Peter Bogdonavitch was there. He didn’t remember me from “Festival In Cannes”. Oh well. I remembered him. That’s all that matters. You can’t depend on other people to make your life meaningful. It’s your story. Write it well.


The KISS Principle

“Keep it simple”…that’s what a stranger told me today. Then it was verified when I saw a sign in a store window one minute later “simple”. I had been complaining that I live in a one-room apartment and work in a store that’s the size of some people’s walk-in closet. Is it possible that the Universe is telling me to keep it simple? What a dichotomy when I’m pursuing this larger-then-life career? Perhaps it’s all in the way I approach my career. Don’t get caught-up in the materialistic things that will imprison me, mentally and physically. The “overhead” that will stop me from soaring like a free bird into the arts of my choice.

Big news. I got a Manager this week. Even bigger news, she found ME! And she’s a real spitfire! And hungry. Like me. I had to drive down to San Diego to meet her. But it was worth it.

My second bit of BIG news is that I got a job! A real job that pays. It’s a new late-night sketch comedy show on the Cartoon Network called “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job “. No, I’m not a cartoon character but I feel like one taking this job. Get this, I have to make-out with the lead guy. I’m slightly weirded-out by this. It’s all improv so hopefully I’ll get a few words in before he slips his tongue down my throat. It’s an Aftra job but I’m a “must join” so the money I earn will most likely go towards my membership into the union. So, I’m basically going to do the gig so I can get a current TV credit on my resume. “NYPD Blue” just isn’t cutting it! A kiss with a stranger= a new credit. How Hollywood is that???

Rehearsal on the second new act of my one-woman show is going great. In order to age twenty years, I’ve had to channel my eighth grade lesbian English teacher combined with a little of my straight Father. It’s an interesting combination. My voice has dropped about five registers and my femininity has all but vanished. Whatever it takes.

I was approached by a high-end Boston magazine to be among a small elite group of accomplished people from Boston to answer a question: “Which of your new year’s resolutions are you most likely to break?”(I haven’t figured out the answer yet). Isn’t that fabulous? If it doesn’t work for me in LA, I may work on becoming a celebrity in Boston. There’d be a lot less headaches and redheads. And I’m sure I can dig out that pair of wide-whale cords, my Fair Isle sweater and my mental corset.


Walking in L.A.

It’s Saturday night and I’m home. Total nightmare weekend. My car died. It’s now ready for car heaven. I barely made it off the 405.  My 1995 Taurus was shaking, steaming and blinking when I swerved off the Sunset exit and turned into a posh hotel. Nice place for a breakdown. The valets were very accommodating. It’s final sentence was given the next day when my mechanic took one look and exclaimed “Get rid of it!”Boo-Hoo. I am now a struggling actress and car-less. I’ve been here before. I’ll figure “something out”. Until then, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the local bus stop.

I am determined not to get too depressed over my fate. It could always be worse. Besides, it’s an important week. Sandwiched between two major Jewish holidays, this is my week to reflect.


The Definition of Success

I’m exploding! Where your focus goes, your energy flows! I’m up for a super high paying job in advertising sales. At the very same time, I was introduced to a theater producer who is interested in my show. He has the 411 on group sales, venues and investors. I’m doing a special matinee for he and his business partners this week. It will cost me to rent the theater, but what’s a few more dollars at this point? Life is an investment!

I joined the Harry Potter celebration on Friday night. I stood in line and at one am, received my reserved copy of “the final book”. I am very inspired by the book’s author, J.K. Rowling. I relate to her struggle and her perseverance. I was interested to learn that she was often depressed while she was writing the first book. Perhaps we don’t always have to be in the “perfect” place in our lives to create art or to make a major contribution with our lives. Out of her depression, she created joy for millions of people. Perhaps we all have to start from this very place we’re at. From a tiny run down apartment, from a part time job that we hate, from a relationship that is unpredictable, from all the chaos. Pain has a purpose. Don’t put off going after your dream until the time is right. The wrong time may be the right time. With humility, we might have to admit, we just don’t know. The future is a big question mark so why not fill in some answers for our selves and see if one turns into a period.

I had a truly enlightening chance encounter this evening. I ran into two actor friends at a local café. I was on my way out when they asked me to join them at their table. A few things you should know. Both of these actors, now a married couple, have had great success in the business, including multiple TV series and films. They are genetically perfect extremely talented and wonderful people. They asked about my career and I shared my success story with my show but the great struggles I’ve had getting work in this town. To my big surprise, they both expressed their deep dissatisfaction as actors and how unfulfilling most of their work has been. They told me they feel like cogs in the wheel, churning-out work that isn’t so much about them and their talent, as it is about cold business and dollars. My male friend expressed that even with his long list of credits, he could only get so far since he isn’t “famous”. My female friend said, it’s like constantly “starting over”, even though she’s been acting on TV since she was a child. What surprised me the most was that they seemed to think that I was the one doing the “real” acting work? They assured me that the joy and satisfaction I feel on stage doing my show is far more rewarding then anything I would ever experience working in TV or film. I must say, I felt as though the carpet had been lifted underneath me. Am I really the more fortunate one? In taking the road less traveled, am I better off? Have all my expectations about being a TV and movie star been wrong? Have I wasted years chasing a dream I wouldn’t even want? Wow. The grass is not always greener, and what I thought were my “weeds”, look like long stem roses now.

My birthday is this week. Not sure how I feel about it. For me, it’s not about numbers but about hitting milestones. I’ve surmounted some pebbles but not the boulders: marriage, family, a solid career and stability. So when I blowout the candles this year, I’ll have plenty of wind and wishes. But more importantly, I hope I take a minute to acknowledge all that I DO have in my life…which is a lot! It may not look like what the rest of the world “seems” to have, but it’s mine. All mine.

Happy Birthday Me.


The Most Empowering Moment Of My Hollywood Life

Just off the stage from an exhilarating night! I love doing my show! A diverse audience tonight! The kind I like. Two people in particular made a deep impression. Both were men and quite a bit older then I. Yet, they both identified with me. The first, a Sir John Gieglud look alike, was positively beaming and laughing with delight through-out the show. I got the feeling it had been a while since he let himself go. The second gentlemen told me that I reminded him of himself fifty years ago when HE came to Hollywood. He reminisced on his hopes and dreams. If I had seen either of these two men walking on the street, I would have thought we had nothing in common. I might have said hello but dismissed them as strangers. Are we really that alike inside? Does what touches me touch you? Are you going through the same inner struggles I am? Have you loved and lost too? Do you want to connect? Because I need to connect. That’s why I became an Actress. So I could feel more.

I went to a 70’s party this weekend. I wore gold lame’ pants, lots of Butterflies and hot matching metallic stilettos. I felt a great sense of freedom as I danced under the disco ball with a Rick James impersonator and his group of seventies wanna-bees! Balance is key in order to survive life in Hollywood. I need to dance more! I need to live more! I need to laugh more!

But first, I’ve got to memorize 22 new pages my play, mail out 500 postcards, read a book, memorize a scene for class, and send out more press releases. So my inner party girl will have to hang-up her dancing shoes for at least another week.

I had a retched audition in a seedy building on the very north end of Sunset. I got it from one on those online acting services. I was to audition for the role of a news anchor. As I walked in the sketchy building another actress wearing a four-inch mini-skirt accompanied me. That’s funny, I’ve worked in many news stations but don’t recall a news anchor dressed like that! I picked-up my mediocre four-lined script, sat on the greasy vinyl couch and then had a realization! I don’t have to stay here! I have an option! I’m not a prisoner as an Actress (or a person). So I got up and left. It was the most empowering thing I had done in a long time.

I want to trust that I can sit still. That the RIGHT opportunities will come along. I don’t need to run around and fill my time just to “feel” I’m doing something. I want to conserve my energy. A friend once told me: “Pay attention to the green lights and the red lights”. When you get the green ones, go for it! But it’s important to pay attention to the red ones…know when to stop. Or when something isn’t working. There’s enough for ALL of us. Trust. And trust something better will come along on the south end of Sunset.

I have to go eat. I’m starved after my show! It’s like I’ve consumed every ounce of myself on stage. ChaChaCha? Love that place. Or maybe it’s a Taco Bell drive-through night. Either way, with a full stomach, I’m sure to sleep like a baby and feel like I’ve earned that good night’s sleep.


THE SIDEWALK LESS TRAVELED

As much as I would have loved to have been graced with a Golden Globe this past week, I can’t help but be amused at the career I’ve created in Hollywood. That is, without being an actual part of Hollywood. I’m a movie within a movie. I mean my theater is literally RIGHT up the street from CBS and right down the street from “The Lot”. So close that I could trip over some big movie executive, that is, if they actually walked anywhere. It’s so ironic to me. Can one be a star within one’s own life and be happy with that?

While visiting home a few weeks ago, I took a walk around my old neighborhood. I was comforted to see that while the town had grown and changed, the sidewalks were the original ones that I’d walked on as a child. I felt immense happiness seeing their imperfections, deep cracks, and uneven well-worn surfaces. Cars whished by me now and then. But in-between there was a poignant silence. It was then I realized that I was in on one of the biggest secrets of all time. The sidewalks were impervious to all the activity around them. Like the Zen still rock in the middle of the storm, my sidewalks held their own. What staying power they had! What a revelation! I, too, am like a sidewalk! I may not be Rodeo or Sunset but I’ve paved my concrete and laid down my road. That big movie executive just might take the road less traveled one day and find ME there! So that’s why stars adopt certain parts of freeways! And maybe that’s why my theater is on “Hayworth” street. What a smart cookie Rita was

2007’s been good to me. One callback to be the new face of a potato chip campaign and one audition to comedically distract and convince TV viewers to rent Alamo cars! Now tell me that’s not more glamorous then winning a little golden statue!

Slings and Arrows

Ugh. Day jobs . I can’t tolerate them. One the one hand, I agree it’s the responsible thing to do. Work, make money and pay my bills. On the other hand, I know that I’m wasting time and neglecting my art. When will this change? It’s no wonder that I spent my holiday weekend at Staples, printing invites, making press packs, ordering new posters. I have no time to get these things done during the week when I’m filing at a law firm or working in a store. I could have been laying at the beach or having cocktails at some festive bar. But who needs the wrinkles of the hangover? Not me. My eyes are always on the goal.

With two shows coming-up this week, my focus is that of a prizefighter. Sometimes I feel compulsive about work. I can’t really relax. I always have to be doing something to further my cause. I question if this is wrong. But I do feel like I have so much to do. Fortunately I have the energy of two people. I’m squeezing the most I can out of my life as an actress. Eventually I’ll do that as a person. When that happens I won’t be in Hollywood. I’ll be traveling the world and hopefully feeling like I’ve achieved what I wanted as an actress. There’s a life expectancy in this town. I don’t want to overstay my visit. When it’s time to leave, I have faith that I’ll know.

Here’s a bit of news: Miracles do happen. The Apple store lost my laptop computer that was in for repair, and replaced it with a new 1400. model! what are the chances? I’m still in awe. It’s beautiful, with all the new bells and whistles. I took it as a major sign. First, it restored my faith in the unknown. Second, I know that it means that I’m supposed to be writing and creating. I can actually make a movie on this computer.  So, I’ve decided to star my own utube series. I may start with just a few minutes of myself telling stories. I want to buy a video camera so I don’t have to depend on other people to shoot and edit. I have to do something by myself this time. No collaborators. If nothing else, just to prove that I can do it. Fly solo. I’ve had so many “angels” come into my life, helping me and supporting me. Everything’s been preparing me for this moment.

I got my “Desperate Housewives” paycheck and was shocked how little money it was after I paid taxes and my manager. Silly, really. A major network show and they wouldn’t pay much above scale. My manager was told “This is Desperate Housewives. Everybody wants to be on this show.” So does that mean that actors shouldn’t get paid what they are worth? here comes my inner Norma Rae again. It’s simply not fair that the money is not equally distributed in this business. Or the opportunities. I’m determined to beat the odds. I wonder what other people do to live with the inequalities in this town, in this world? Do they ride it out, fight it out, cry it out, or do they take it? I don’t have distractions like retail therapy, drugs, a leisurely lifestyle. I’m present and stuck with my thoughts and feelings. So far, I’ve turned them into art. But I’m curious if I’m alone. I always think that other people’s lives seem easier. But what really goes on beyond closed doors? What are Steven Spielberg’s problems? What does Michelle Pfeiffer worry about? Not the stuff you read about in the tabloids, but the truth.

I suppose we are all living our unique lives. We each have a role to play. As one casting director recently told me, :You may not be right for a lot of things, but when you’re right, you’re really right.” So wait for your niches people. You might fall into them when you’re least looking. I have to believe that there’s fairness and equality in the end. That there’s enough for all of us. Trust that you have a burning desire to do something for a good reason. It’s like your own inner secret DaVinci Code. You have to decode it at some point. Until then, follow the clues. Uncover your full potential.


The Bigness of Bette

Ever day I aspire to be more and more like Bette Midler.

The early Bette possessed a size and magnitude that was subhuman. She lived on a different playing level then we mere humans. Not because she was better, but because she demanded and owned her grandiosity. All the great comediennes of time have possessed this power. An acting teacher of mine once told me that my personality and energy might be too much for a man but just right for the stage. On the down side, I wondered if that meant that I would be alone forever. But on the upside I thought, hey, maybe I’ve got that pizzazz that the great Dames of comedy have. Bette is also a showgirl. Now I must admit that I think I have two left feet BUT I can sing. So, starting this week, I’ll have not one, but two, songs in my show.

Why can’t we be anybody we want to be in this world?

Who is saying no? Personas are up for grabs, lifestyles can be earned, and skills can be learned. Life is a free for all, a grab bag, and a potluck dinner. Take what you want bring what you want, and taste it all!

I read all those tabloid magazines to help me whittle away my cardio at the gym. It’s so fascinating to me how these celebrities “create” their life. But seriously, anyone can do it. I mean I can be my own stylist, dietician, make-up artist, and publicist. I’m already doing that. I just need the photographers to “catch” it and immortalize it. I know a certain Director who feels that the un-captured life is a shame. I think he just feels sad to miss magnificent moments. Somehow, putting a camera on life heightens that very life itself.

I’m constantly torn between wanting to be a huge celebrity and wanting to live and breathe theater for the rest of my life.

Lately theater wins out. It’s the life that’s being handed to me at the moment. We all know, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. Well I can’t say that theater is feeding me (in fact I’m really hungry most of the time) but there is something to fully appreciating what is flourishing in your life. Like my alter ego suburban housewife says in my show “Happiness is knowing what you have and liking what you have”. So take stock. See what’s in your cupboards. And try loving whatever it is. Except if it’s canned kidney beans. Then I’d understand.


Self -worth and self- sustenance

“ I love what I do,” said Eleanor, my 50 plus perky New England cab driver. She struck a chord. It’s important to find the bliss in your life. I am writing from the beautiful city of Boston. One week of vacation at home has shaved ten years of my fatigue. To live in a world where one doesn’t worry about auditions and shows. My biggest concern has been what my next meal will be or which relative or friend to see. It’s really good to get a reality check. To realize that my compelling issues on one coast, aren’t so weighty on the other coast. Life is what matters. People are what matters. The rest is filler.

With only three shows scheduled this summer, I might be able to transport this new reality back to LA. Isn’t summer supposed to be a time to take a break, relax, to renew oneself? I feel like we’re all racing against the clock. How much can we get done and fit into one day? Don’t “waste time”. But what if I want to whittle away a day? What will happen to me? What if I stop trying to “make things happen”? Will my world fall apart? Or, will the release of all that pressure open the floodgates for new things to come in? I have spent years being the most diligent acting student, the most responsible scene partner, the most ambitious Actress. I deserve an A. So what? I’ve also missed family vacations, Thanksgivings, interesting experiences. I’ve even missed being a loafer. Knowing what it’s like to do “nothing”…being a person first, and an Actress second.

I am excited to perform my show at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks on June 26th. A different venue feels like putting on a new pair of shoes. It will also be a momentous occasion: my first time getting paid after two years of developing my show. I feel like I’m at the slot machine and I’m seeing all cherries!!!

I’ve been a paid Actress on and off over the years but I’ve almost always had to supplement my income with seemingly distracting and less important jobs that consume a lot of my energy. I didn’t come to Hollywood to sell shoes, theater subscriptions, wait tables or be the annoying telemarketer on the other end of the phone. Heck, I could live in Kalamazoo!

No, I came to LA to make a living as an Actress. If I battle issues of self worth, I ‘m going to put them to rest once and for all when I get-up on that stage next week. “I can bring home the bacon”, (kosher of course), “fry it up on a pan…cause I’m a Woman”!